by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, and Erica Henderson
Subatomic Party Girls has a very cool premise. Take a group of teenage rockstars and launch them into space to be the first to perform in orbit. Unfortunately, as their manager states, tragedy sells, and she has calculated a plan to have the group lost in space forever so she can profit off of their end! It might sound dark, but series writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers manage to offer these bits in good balance, never taking things to a dark place. As readers jump into the third chapter, the girls are on the run and the issue plays like a all ages spy show.
Having just been told that their performance for Boss Drixly would be their last, the girls attempt take off, blowing a hole in the chamber wall and taking off in the first direction they can. There is a great bit of entertainment in watching the girls interact with such stakes on the line. There are hints of previous dust-ups and run-ins that the trio has had in their past. Sims and Bowers are to be commended in their restraint for insinuating but not divulging too much, letting readers’ imaginations take over.
Unfortunately, much as the cover insinuated in a brilliant parody of a family restaurant-type placemat, the girls find themselves amidst a complicated maze, or labyrinth of which no escape seems likely. To make matters worse, the good boss has sent a hit team after them. To note, this hit team had recently been sent to the labyrinth as punishment, to be lost amongst the twists and turns forever. Only in Boss Drixly’s unexpected need are they reinstated by way of a very off-handed apology by way of a hologram before given their orders.
The issue is fun in its approach to the dangers and action pieces. The banter, the characterization of the boss as well as his minions each play up the tone of a child-focused story. This book is still entertaining for adults, but will no doubt cater to a young audience. There are some definite improvements in this issue, keeping the focus almost entirely on this planet, rather than flashing back to earth much. While this commentary is interesting, it doesn’t seem to serve much purpose yet and definitely plays as too advanced for younger readers. As they are likely to miss the purpose of that story, Sims and Bowers do better to utilize the space in this book for content the primary audience will enjoy.
The story takes an unexpected turn in its final act and keeps the reader’s engaged in doing so. Sims and Bowers have a bit more control over their pacing and story here, and it makes for the best issue of the series yet. The elements of the conclusion and the introduction of some new characters keep Party Girls feeling fresh and leave readers excited for what is to come. Likewise, Erica Henderson’s art continues to be an organic match to the tone of the series. The cover is a really smart use of the item referenced and the rendering of one of the newer characters as well as the final climax of the issue boast some of the most vibrant imagery yet. There is room to grow for the title, but with each issue Subatomic Party Girls improves in every aspect.